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David Bender

When John F. Kennedy, Jr. launched George Magazine, he chose David Bender as its first West Coast contributing editor. Citing Bender's more than thirty years of experience in politics, government and entertainment, Kennedy said, "As long as I've known David Bender, he has been involved in public issues. I think what he's been able to do, rather uniquely, is kind of meld a lot of different worlds and channel them into public issues, whether it be Washington, New York or Los Angeles - particularly within the entertainment industry. I can't really think of anyone who has done it longer or as well as he."

Bender's four-decade career as a political activist began at the age of twelve when he took a "leave of absence" from the seventh grade to become a full-time volunteer in the presidential campaign of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Four years later, as a high school reporter, Bender covered the presidential campaigns of Richard Nixon, George McGovern and Hubert Humphrey. He was literally a "boy on the bus," traveling in the company of such journalistic legends as Walter Cronkite and Eric Sevareid. Later, he became a key aide to the legendary liberal activist Allard K. Lowenstein, the former New York congressman who was a pivotal figure in both the civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam War movement. He was also on the national field staff of Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s 1980 presidential campaign. After Bill Clinton was first elected president, Bender became the Democratic National Committee’s finance liaison to the entertainment industry.

David Bender served as a senior advisor on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. Following the campaign, he joined Air America Radio as its first political director, and then became host of his own long-running talk show, Politically Direct with David Bender.

David Bender was dubbed by Rachel Maddow as her “political guru,” appearing regularly on The Rachel Maddow Show on Air America. Subsequently he was the co-host, along with Mike Papantanio and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., of the long-running, nationally syndicated radio program, Ring of Fire.

David Bender is the author, co-author and/or major contributor to six books, including the NY Times best-seller, Air America: The Playbook; and Stand and Be Counted, a chronicle of artist activism in the music industry written with legendary musician David Crosby. He recently served as research editor on the book written by legendary actor/producer Kirk Douglas about the making of Spartacus, the film which broke the Hollywood blacklist.

Currently Bender is the Chief Strategy Officer and political director of Progressive Voices, a 24 hour streaming network of progressive news and commentary on TuneIn.

Entries by David Bender

The Decade of Death

(1) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 9:18 AM

Within one day, we've lost two people whose lives were like the sun to the sunrise. It seems impossible to wake up without them in the world.

For seven decades. Lauren Bacall was the quintessence of cool; intelligent, elegant, passionate and permanent. She was a fixture in our cultural history,...

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Fallen Snow

(10) Comments | Posted January 20, 2011 | 1:00 PM

One year ago today, my friend of 20 years, the legendary singer/songwriter Phoebe Snow, suffered a sudden brain hemorrhage in her New Jersey apartment. She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors quickly performed surgery that undoubtedly saved her life. They succeeded in stopping the bleeding in her brain. And,...

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Perceiving Reality

(3) Comments | Posted May 10, 2008 | 1:13 AM

I am continually astonished at the absence of irony -- call it an "irony deficiency" -- in the ever-shifting declarations of the participants in this presidential campaign.

No one needs a bigger booster shot than Bill Clinton.

Shortly after Senator Clinton's near-loss...

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Dear Al: It's Time to Put That Nobel Prize to Work

(31) Comments | Posted March 9, 2008 | 10:13 PM

"If Sen. Clinton wants to take the debate to various places, we'll join that debate. We'll do it on our terms and in our own way but if she wants to make issues like ethics and disclosure and law firms and real estate deals and all that stuff issues, as...
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How Hillary Can Lose By Winning

(78) Comments | Posted January 14, 2008 | 7:00 PM

Here's something you might not know: coming out of the first two contests, it is actually Barack Obama, not Hillary Clinton, who has so far won the most votes. Because his margin of victory in Iowa was far greater than her narrow victory in New Hampshire, and because almost twice...

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(33) Comments | Posted December 18, 2007 | 2:26 PM

The good news for Senator Hillary Clinton is that she received the Des Moines Register endorsement. The bad news is that she got it a full 18 days before the Iowa caucuses. Four years ago, when the Register's support helped kick-start John Edwards' campaign into a surprise second-place finish behind...

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Joie de Merv

(77) Comments | Posted August 12, 2007 | 8:58 PM

Merv Griffin has died. In 2002, I had the great privilege and joy of helping him to write his last memoir, Merv: Making the Good Life Last. I don't use the word "joy" casually here, because the good life he exemplified was more than one of riches and material achievement,...

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